Archive for July, 2007

Why I Blog

Posted on July 30, 2007. Filed under: Musings |

I’ve read quite a few posts stating that blogging is narcissistic, selfish, self-absorbed, or at the very least self-indulgent.  Yes to all!  Who better to indulge than the Self?  When I wake up in the morning, the Self is there.  Self goes with me everywhere.  Actually, Self indulges Me!  Self realizes I need an outlet.  So I’ve started blogging.  It’s just the most fun I’ve had in a while.  Setting up the blog took me hours and hours, even with the support of so many great WordPress themes.  Then, writing the first few posts before I “went public” — more hours.  I began to feel a little obsessive.  I imagine I’ll calm down as I settle into this mode.

I blog beacause it gets me to learn, to research, to thoughtfully consider information.  It’s different than journaling, because, here, I care about every word I choose.  I still do spontaneous outpourings into a notebook, sometimes, but blogging seems to give me a way to find out what I really think and feel.  There’re so many impressions, reactions, and bits of information, longing to burst out of my brain and find a home.  Thank you for helping to clear out my mind, and make room for even more!  Seft indulgent?  Yes.  Salaam.

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Spirituality in a Nutshell

Posted on July 29, 2007. Filed under: Philosophy, Spirituality |

It would be wonderful indeed if a group of persons should arrive on earth who were for something and against nothing.”

“I do not believe there is single fact in human history, or a single manifestation in the universe, which is or could possibly be anything other than a manifestation of the One Divine Mind, the One Universal Presence, the One Infinite Spirit.”

“Find me someone whose song is really celestial, because it is the outburst of the cosmic urge to sing, and I shall hear the music of the spheres.”

The above are quotes from one of my favorite philosophers–way up on my top 10 list. (All from Sermon by the Sea by Ernest Holmes, 1959, (c) Science of Mind Publications). That’s it. That’s my spirituality in a nutshell.

I chose the title deliberately, as this sort of philosophy is often embraced by those the mainstream might consider “Nuts”. I’m pleased to be a Nut. Here are some definitions I found: [[but first...an aside: Upon my honor, although I was aware peripherally of these definitions while wandering along the road which is my life, I had not looked up the word "nut" before I chose my title or began my post!]]

Nut (n). An internally threaded fastener. A seed borne within a fruit having a hard shell. A device at the lower end of the bow for a stringed instrument, used for tightening the hairs. An Egyptian sky goddess, personifying the vault of heaven. A crazy or eccentric person.

Now, the fact that I can actually identify with all these definitions, at least metaphorically, surprises and delights me. I’ll write more about my thoughts on spiritual expression, but for now, I’ll just bask in my nuttiness. Blessed be.

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Adventure Games Feel Good

Posted on July 29, 2007. Filed under: Games |

Part one – Out of the Box

There are lots of Computer Game review sites to look at.  This is not one of them.  I’m not here to rate the programming or use of the game engine.  However, if my computer is on, and I’m not blogging, checking/responding to email, writing, accounting, and maybe even doing a little work–I’m probably playing a computer adventure game.  (Really, not for THAT many hours, and not every single day, honest).  My focus here is on games that allow me to feel really good while playing them.  I mostly play adventure, rather than puzzle or role-playing or action games, because I like to become immersed in the story.  If a game is good, it’s somewhat like reading a novel or watching a movie, with the addition of getting to participate and make some decisions.

Although adventures are considered the “soft” genre of computer gaming, even they often include “overcoming one or more ‘badguys’”*  as a major component of the story.  It must be a challenge to design a plot without an evil-other.  I don’t play the games that have very, very bad “badguys”, or really gross or violent ones.  But I do rationalize allowing a certain amount of “badguyness” if the story is otherwise positive, with an ending that leaves me feeling uplifted, or, at least, poignantly moved.  Again, story is at the top of my list.  Solving puzzles, if they are intriguing, logical, and support the story, are fun, too.  Next comes atmosphere.  A game is worthwhile if the music, graphics, and sound effects help to pull me into the story.  And obvious necessities are characters I care about, as they would be in a book or movie.  I like elements of mysticism in my games, as I do in my life, and I like to feel I’ve learned something from them.

All right, so what boxed games meet my high standards?  Of the ones I’ve played so far, I’ll give my top five(ish).

#5 Beyond Time.  I like this one because I became immersed in Egyptology.  The graphics are stunning, the atmosphere rich with detail.  I had to read scrolls, learn to interpret hieroglyphics, and participate in religious rituals, while exploring ancient Abydos and other cultures.  The presentation of modern-day technology is impressive, too.  It’s a solve-the-mystery game (most of these are) with only a small amount of “badguyness” to contend with.

#4 Myst.  All of ‘em, really, but especially the first two.  Their graphics were mind-blowing at the time they were released, and just got better.  The “badguys” are actually pretty bad, indeed, but since I didn’t have to observe them actively doing their bad stuff, but just learned about it after the fact, I was able to cope.  A lot of folks don’t like all the mechanical puzzles in the Myst games, but I find them clever and unique.  They pull me into worlds that are just a little out of the usual, and I like visiting.  The running story about how realities are created is worth the whole journey, and got me to read the novels, too.

#3 AMBER: Journeys Beyond. While many consider this a typical ghost/haunted house story (something I’m NOT attracted to) I found it instead to be a fascinating speculation about using technology to explore what happens beyond the physical.  Again, fabulous graphics, four captivating stories, wonderful music and atmosphere.  I got to use cool gadgets and help out a friend.  There is one “badguy”, but his “bad” behavior is only a small part of the overall story.  A nice surprise ending.  I loved the house where much of the action takes place.  Beautifully rendered.  I found myself visiting even when not actively playing the game.

#2 Zork Nemesis.  I’ve played all the graphic Zorks, and started with the Zork Underground text adventures.  I highly recommend any and all Zorks.  They’re great stories, and laughing-out-loud funny — except for this one.  Zork Nemesis is certainly the darkest game in the series.  The atmosphere is decidedly gloomy, but it needs to be in this case.  I can’t really comment on the “badguy” factor here.  I see the characters as looking for more from life, and perhaps a couple of them are willing to go to any lengths to get it.  There are elements of the ol’ Zork humor here, too, if I’m clever enough to notice them.  The main theme, which fascinated me, was Alchemy.  You learn a lot about alchemy if you play this game.  Absolutely stunning atmosphere, characters, costuming, acting, otherworldliness.  I felt I had spent quality time unraveling the complex story.  Just a small warning:  There are a couple of rather gruesome scenes, but there are alternatives to one of them–you can find out the needed information in another way.  And the other was so preposterous it made me giggle.

Finally, my number one boxed game so far:  Syberia (and Syberia II which you will need to play afterward, as it’s a continuation of the story, but, particularly Syberia I).  When I started Syberia, my jaw literally dropped during the opening scene.  I eventually got my mouth to stay closed, but never lost the sense of awe and wonder the game evoked.  This is another game that put me into a world that’s slightly left of reality.  The rules are a little different.  Society and mechanics are not quite familiar.  There are no “badguys”.  (Well, in part II there are a couple of “villains” but they’re so inept that it’s hard to take them seriously).  There are a few rather irritating individuals, but as the main character, I got to experience my self-image evolving, and I learned to deal with them.  I was in tears at the end, both because of the poignant place it left me and because it was time to leave.

Next time:  The Best things in (virtual) Life are Free!

My use of “guys” within the word “badguys” is intended in a non-gender-specific way, and as a colloquialism.  It in no way intends to imply that all less-than-pleasant people are male.  :~)

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Science with a question mark

Posted on July 28, 2007. Filed under: Science |

I’ll admit to having had a clandestine love affair with the Muse of Science for a long, long time. I took things apart to see how they worked, I did experiments in my parents’ kitchen, and I could look at bugs for hours. (Fortunately, I didn’t take THEM apart). I don’t know how far I’ll get with this category, but let me say, categorically (hehe) that I am not a trained scientist; I’m a layperson, civilian, non-scientist with a degree in (gasp!) Humanities. So how come I have a “Science” or even a “Science?” category on my blog? Part of the answer is that I’m one of those folks who believe that Science and Spirituality meet, complement each other, and at the end of the day, are pretty much the same thing. Since I’m posting this in the Science? and not the Philosophy area I’d better talk about which kinds of science I like, and why, and stretch their parameters as far as I can.

Well, these days people can hardly talk about Science and Spirituality together in the same sentence without mentioning theoretical physics, or quantum physics or New physics. I can hear the groans coming from some legit. scientists, and I don’t blame them a bit. We new-thought, new-age, airy-fairy angels have appropriated a perfectly legitimate branch of science, and are using it to further our own questionable agendas!

While I do think mystical experience is “real” (what is reality?), I don’t think we need to be “lost in space” mentally or to abandon science to discuss it. Terms like strange matter, charm quark, and nontrivial topology delight me. I know science is supposed to be fun, but whimsical? Why not?

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Is it Music if it doesn’t make a sound?

Posted on July 28, 2007. Filed under: Music |

My involvement in music is much on a subjective, subtle level. There are a plethora of books about “Music and Healing” or “Sound Healing” and I think I own most of them. That is until I go to Amazon‘s site and see how many MORE there are. I’m not quite comfortable with the use of the word “healing” in this context, but that’s a whole other story I’ll address in a post “coming soon to your local blog”. I’m all about using sound to affect consciousness. Or perhaps to invite consciousness to allow music and sound in. But I’m not so much a performer as a lurker. This may seem strange to those who observe me–after all, I do play several instruments, and I’m active in a few performing groups.

In a discussion with a friend the other day, I pointed out that we each come to our bands, choruses, or orchestras with our individual set of expectations, or needs if you will (I don’t use that term lightly). For me, by far the most important aspect of membership in a musical group is the rehearsals, not the performances. The energy, camaraderie and learning which go on during a set of rehearsals make them spiritual experiences. In fact, for some years, my musical organizations were my temples. I say all this because, when quizzed, other members of a current organization say their purpose is the opportunity to perform for their friends; or it’s their job; or they want to learn new/better technique. I told my friend, in our discussion on how to move the group forward, that we really ought to consider what brings each of us there, as we each have different expectations, and no one philosophy should be deemed “right”–just agreed upon.

So, as a lurker, I like to read my books about Sound, and it’s effect on Consciousness. I like to assimilate World music, not just the neo-classical system of Western notation and sound production I was taught. The richness and expansiveness of Mid-Eastern and Asian scale forms adds so much to my understanding. These cultural musics expand my concepts of how far our consciousness can reach. Most of all, I enjoy chant. Chant from many cultures, of course. Chanting can be the simplest yet most profound music there is. After all, our first instrument is the voice. When we are allowed to use it to express our moods, feelings, devotion and divine nature we are truly tuning to the sound of all.

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Museology? What’s THAT doing here?

Posted on July 27, 2007. Filed under: Musings |

Those in the know will soon realize I have taken great liberties with the word “Museology.”   The word is not trademarked, or copyrighted or anything, but its general meaning refers to a career path in the museum field.  A Museologist is a person who manages collections for a museum.  I am not a museologist, amateur or professional.  So with apologies to those of you who ARE, I’m appropriating the word because I like the sound of it, and it looks compatible with this site!  The part of the official definition I like best is:  “It is the process of keeping…items of interest, and the additional process of educating a constituency, that is usually encompassed by the term museology.”  (Thanks to Timothy Campbell for this quote on paragraph 5 of his page).

This category is for “keeping items of interest” which may not fit into other categories.  Here is the output of my personal MusEology, random thoughts, and commentary.  The part about “educating a constituency” well, we’ll see about that.  It’s not my primary aim, but it would be fun if my ramblings were of use.  I’m certainly attempting to educate myself  here.  More about that in my “Why I Blog?” post coming up.

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Emotional Freedom

Posted on July 27, 2007. Filed under: EFT, Health |

There are a lot of therapies–physical and psychological–out there for us consumers. The newest Energy therapies are among the quickest and most effective, in my opinion. The theory is that the experience of being in a body gives us a lot of reactions to things. On top of that, the people who interact with us (parents, teachers, friends and family) are not always as kind to us as we would hope. These experiences and interactions are stored in our physical body, in its energy system. There is a lot of electrical energy surging through our bodies at any given time. When conditions which don’t further our well-being are experienced, some part of the electrical system “codes” them into us. Energy Therapies like Emotional Freedom Techniques address the system to get the energy flowing again and release the blocks which hold us back. At first I thought this was yet another fad, and it may be. The field is evolving quickly, and what is trendy today in this area may be passe tomorrow. However, in my experience, so far, these techniques address major and minor physical and emotional issues faster, and with more lasting results than anything else.

For those of us wishing to remain positive and recognize the good in our lives, EFT can get the “stuff” out of the way easily and quickly so we can maintain a good-feeling place. If this is of interest, here are a couple of links. The first is to the main EFT website, maintained by the founder and my teacher, Gary Craig. There are literally hundreds of case studies and free background literature there. The second is to the website of a fabulous EFT Master who combines EFT with the “Law of Attraction”–and they are very compatible indeed: Carol Look

I’ve seen these therapies work wonders in my own life, and in those of my clients. I’ll be telling my favorite EFT stories in future posts.

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